AUTHORED BY: SANAH SETHI
AMITY LAW SCHOOL, NOIDA
Part IV containing Articles 36 to 51 lay down the various provisions relating to Directive Principles of State Policy.
The framers of our Constitution borrowed the Directive Principles of State Policy from the Constitution of Ireland, 1937. It means a body of guidelines to the State, the three organs of the governmental machinery i.e. the executive, legislature and judiciary to make all possible efforts to achieve the ideals and goods enshrined in the constitution by establishing a welfare state and to achieve a social and economic democracy in the State/Country. The idea of establishment of a welfare state envisaged by the constitution can only be achieved if the States endeavour to implement successfully with a high sense of duty, the directive principles seek to establish a welfare state and to achieve a social and economic democracy in the country. The Directive Principles play a vital and a positive role in the governance of the country. Such rights are also termed as positive rights or social rights. They impose positive obligations on the State. However, they are not enforceable.
CLASSIFICATION OF THE DIRECTIVE PRINCIPLES
Social and Economic Charter (Articles 38 and 39)
Social order based on justice (Article 38)
One of the ideals and goals to be achieved in the preamble of our Constitution is ‘Social Justice’. As enshrined in the Preamble, the main function of the Republic is to secure to all its citizens social, economic and political justice.
Art 38(1) of the Indian Constitution envisages ‘Social Justice’. An act or conduct of a person is said to be ‘just’ if it promotes the general well being of the community. The expression ‘social justice’ means abolition/removal of all sorts of inequalities, which may result from the inequalities of wealth, opportunity, status, race, religion, caste and the like.”
The concept of “social justice” consists of distinct principles essential for the orderly growth and development of personality of every citizen. Social justice is not a simple or single idea of a society but is an essential part of complex social change to relieve the poor etc from handicaps, penury, to ward off distress and to make their life livable, for greater good of the society at large.
The main aim of social justice is to attain a substantial degree of social, economic and political equality.
Art. 38(2) of the Indian Constitution provides that the State shall strive to reduce/decrease the inequalities in income and endeavour to abolish inequalities in status, facilities and opportunities, among both individuals as well as among groups of people residing in different areas or engaged in different vocations.”
Principles of policy to be followed by the State after securing Economic Justice (Article 39)
Article 39 of the Indian Constitution directs/requires the state to follow seven principles of policy for securing ‘Economic Justice’. They are:
- Equal right of men and women to fair or satisfactory means of livelihood.
- To ensure that the economic system should not result in concentration of wealth and means of production to the common detriment.
- Both men and women should get equal pay for equal work.
Randhir Singh v. Union of India (AIR 1982 SC 879)
In this case, the Supreme Court held that the principle of “equal pay for equal work” though not a fundamental right, is certainly a constitutional goal. It is equally applicable to persons employed on a daily wage basis.
- Social Security Charter (Articles 39a, 41-43a, 45-47)
Equal Justice and Free Legal Aid (Article 39-A)
Art. 39 of the Indian Constitution provides for “Equal Justice and Free Legal Aid.” It was inserted/added by the Constitution (Forty Second Amendment) Act, 1976. It came into force from 3.1.1977.
It states that the State shall protect or defend the application of the legal system which encourages justice, on a basis of equal opportunities and shall provide free legal aid, by advisable measure or schemes or in any other way, to ensure that opportunities for protecting justice are not opposed to any citizen by reason of economic or other disabilities. This article was added to the Constitution pursuant to the new policy of the Government to give legal aid to economically backward classes of people.
Art. 39-A and Art 21 as interpreted by the Supreme Court and Sec. 304 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 provide for free legal aid, particularly in criminal cases. As such, ‘Legal aid’ and ‘speedy trial’ have now been held to be fundamental rights under Art.21 of the constitution is applicable to all prisoners and are enforceable by the Courts. The State is under a duty to provide a lawyer to a poor person and it must pay to the lawyer, his fee as fixed by the Court.
State Bank v. N.S. Money (AIR 1976 SC 1111)
In this case, it was held that the Government should set up a “suitors fund” to meet the cost of defending a poor or indigent person.
In Hussainara Khatoon v. State of Bihar (AIR 1979 SC 1369)
It has been held that right to free legal service is essential ingredient of ‘reasonable fair and just’ procedure and implicit in guarantee of Art. 21.
Provision for just and considerate conditions of work and maternity relief (Art. 42)
Article 42 of the Indian Constitution provides that “The State shall make an arrangement for protecting just and considerate/cordial conditions of work and for maternity relief.”
Living wage etc., for workers (Art. 43)
Article 43 of the Indian Constitution provides that “The State shall endeavour to protect that by advisable means or economic organization or in any other way, to all workers, be it agricultural, industrial or otherwise, work, a living wage, conditions of work ensuring a decent standard of life and full enjoyment of leisure and social and cultural opportunities and, in particular, the State shall endeavour to encourage cottage industries on an individual or co-operative basis in rural areas.”
The assistance of workers in the management of Industries (Art. 43-A)
Article 43-A of the Constitution of India (inserted by the Constitutional 42nd Amendment Act, 1976 w.e.f. 03.01.1977) provides that “The State shall take steps, by advisable means or in any other manner, to secure the assistance of workers in the management of undertakings, establishments or other organizations engaged in any industry.”
Regulation for early childhood care and education to children below the age of six years (Art. 45)
Article 45 of the Indian Constitution (substituted by Constitution (86th Amendment) Act, 2002) provides that “The State shall endeavour to provide early childhood care and education for all children until the complete age of six years.”
The original Article 45 provides that “Provision for free and compulsory education for children: The state shall aim to provide, within a period of ten years from the starting of this Constitution, for free and mandatory education for all children until they reach the age of fourteen years.”
Article 21-A i.e. “Right to Education: The State shall provide free and mandatory education to all children from the age of six to fourteen years in such manner, as the State may regulate by law”. This has been inserted as Fundamental Right in Part-III of Constitution by the Constitution (86th Amendment) Act, 2002.
Development of educational and economic interests of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and other weaker sections (Art. 46)
Article 46 of the Indian Constitution states that “The State shall set up the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, as well as the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, and shall protect them from injustice of social nature and all forms of exploitation.”
The term ‘weaker sections of the society’ was not defined by Article 46. Hence, in Shantistar Builders v. Narayana Khimalal Totame (AIR 1990 SC 630)
The Supreme Court has directed the Central Government to lay down appropriate guidelines regarding the expression ‘weaker sections of the society.’
Duty of the State to advance the level of nutrition and the standard of living and to improve public health (Art. 47)
Art. 47 of the Indian Constitution states that “The State shall regard the advancing of the level of nutrition and the standard of living of its people and the improvement of public health as among its essential duties and, in particular, the State shall aim to bring about prohibition of the consumption except for medicinal purposes of intoxicating drinks and of drugs which are injurious to health.”
- Community Welfare Charter (Articles 40, 44, 48, 48a, 49-51)
Management of Village Panchayats (Article 40)
Article 40 of the Indian Constitution provides that “The State shall take measures to manage village panchayats and enable them with such powers and authority as may be necessary to enable them to function as units of self-government.
Uniform Civil Code (Art. 44)
The expression “uniform civil code” literally means “Common Code” for all citizens irrespective of their religion. It was incorporated in Article 44 of the Indian Constitution under Part IV: Directive Principles of State Policy.
Article 44 of the Indian Constitution directs that the State shall endeavor to secure a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India in order to cut across religion, caste and tribe and to build up a homogeneous nation.
The preamble of the constitution sets forth the ideals and goals to be achieved by the State for setting up a Social Welfare State. For this purpose, Directive Principles of State Policy are provided for under Part IV (Articles 36-51) of the Constitution. As the directive principles are not enforceable, an individual cannot approach the Court (High Court or Supreme Court) for enforcement of Article 44, which envisages uniform civil code.
Introduction of Uniform Civil Code is not an easy task, since it would be very difficult to bring the persons of different faiths and persuasions on a common platform. However, the Supreme Court in Ms. Jordan Diengdeh v. S.S. Chopra, (AIR 1985 SC 931) and Mohd. Ahmad Khan v. Shah Bano Begum, (AIR 1985 SC 945) held that “a beginning has to be made if the constitution is to have any meaning.”
Management of agriculture and animal husbandry (Art. 48)
Article 48 of the Indian Constitution states that the State shall aim to administer or regulate agriculture and animal husbandry on clear and accurate lines shall take measures for preserving and improving the variety, and prohibiting the slaughter, of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle.”
Protection and improvement of environment and safeguarding of forests and wild life (Art. 48-A)
Article 48-A of the Indian Constitution which was inserted by the Constitution (42nd Amendment) Act, 1976 (w.e.f 03-01-1977) provides that “The State shall endeavor to protect and improve the environment and to protect/preserve the forests and wild life of the country.”
In M.C. Mehta (II) v. Union of India (1988) 1 SCC 471)
The Court directed that the Kanpur Nagar Mahapalika to take appropriate steps for the prevention of pollution of water of Ganga.
Preservation of monuments and places and objects of national importance (Art. 49)
Article 49 of the Indian Constitution provides that it shall be a necessity of the State to protect every monument or place or object of artistic or historic importance acknowledged by or under law made by Parliament to be of national concern from spoilation, disfigurement, destruction, removal, disposal or export, as the case may be.
Separation of judiciary from the executive (Art. 50)
Article 50 of the Indian Constitution provides that The State shall take allowance to isolate the judiciary from executive in the public life of the State.
Promotion of International Peace and Security (Article 51)
Article 51 of the Indian Constitution provides that the State shall aim to-
1. Promote international peace and security.
2. Maintain just and honorable relations between nations.
3. Encourage settlement of international disputes by arbitration.